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Jonesboro officials prepare to begin new terms

Photo by Curt Yeomans: Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day (left) is sworn in Friday by Clayton County State Court Judge Harold Benefield, in the Jonesboro Municipal Courtroom. City Councilmembers Wallace Norrington, Randy Segner and Bobby Wiggins were also sworn.

Photo by Curt Yeomans: Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day (left) is sworn in Friday by Clayton County State Court Judge Harold Benefield, in the Jonesboro Municipal Courtroom. City Councilmembers Wallace Norrington, Randy Segner and Bobby Wiggins were also sworn.

Jonesboro officials expressed some nervousness after they were sworn in to their elected offices Friday, even though it was not the first oath of office some of them had taken.

Mayor Joy Day and City Councilmembers Wallace Norrington and Bobby Wiggins had each taken their oaths of office before, although it had been eight years since Day last took the mayoral oath. For Councilman Randy Segner, it was a first-time experience.

As each official got up to take their respective oath, they had to stand in front of a crowd of approximately 50 attendees, with Clayton County State Court Judge Harold Benefield, and recite their promise to defend and support the city charter, and the U.S. and Georgia constitutions.

“It’s exciting because the people have put a lot of confidence in you to do their business,” said Norrington, after the swearing-in ceremony. “It’s an honor for me to do it, because I’ve lived here in Jonesboro for so long, but you never get used to doing it.”

Day, who previously served as mayor from 1995 to 1997, and Norrington, Segner and Wiggins, will serve in their respective posts for the next four years. Each of the four officials sworn in on Friday took their oaths while keeping one hand placed upon Day’s family Bible, and pledging to “faithfully” perform their duties as the city’s leaders.

“I take it very seriously,” Day said. “I feel like it’s a promise to the people, and to our employees, and I feel the weight of the responsibility of helping our council make good decisions. It’s a wonderful feeling, but it’s also an awe-inspiring feeling because it is important,” she said. “Local government touches people where they live, and so what you do sitting in that mayor’s seat, or in a council seat, has a big impact directly on people’s lives.”

Day said there is “so much work to be done” to move the city forward. She explained that she wants to make sure the Jonesboro City Council has as much information as is available about issues that come up before it for votes.

The new mayor said she already had a memo drawn up for councilmembers, explaining an issue coming before the council at its work session on Tuesday, that was to go in each councilmember’s city hall mail box, as soon as she was sworn in.

“I want to give our councilmembers a lot of information, to keep them informed, so that they can make good decisions,” she said.

For some councilmembers, the desire to see the council, mayor and external groups, such as county leaders, officials from other cities, and the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce work together, was also expressed.

There are some issues that officials across multiple groups and governments will have to address as a group, including the ongoing stand-off between the county and its cities over service delivery strategy, Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) negotiations, and jobs creation.

“I’m looking forward to how the city, with our new mayor, can work with Clayton County,” Segner said. “I’m really interested in the city and the county working together, as well as the other six cities in Clayton County. I think there are a lot of issues that the county and our cities face in these economic times ...

“It’s going to take a real coordinated effort to keep Clayton County, and Jonesboro, and the other cities on top.”

There are other issues that will likely be on the city’s agenda in the coming months, including regaining its qualified local government status, taking another look at — and possibly making changes to — its 2012 budget, and working on drawing up long-term, and short-term goals for Jonesboro.

“I think the [city leadership] team that’s there will work to move things forward, and not get stalled on issues,” Norrington said. “That’s my hope that we won’t shut our government down.”

Wiggins was not immediately available for comment after the swearing-in ceremony, and could not be reached for comment later in the day.